Red Sox - 230 000 100 - 6 10 0 Orioles - 001 010 000 - 2 7 1Mookie Betts hit three home runs and drove in five runs. Betts became the first leadoff man in Red Sox history to hit three homers in one game - and the first Red Sox hitter to hit homers in each of the first two innings. Betts's five RBI tied a career high; he also drove in five runs 10 days ago (May 21, against Cleveland).
Betts took the first pitch of the game for a ball, then crushed the next one to dead center. Dustin Pedroia followed by hitting a home run to left-center. Orioles starter Kevin Gausman had thrown only five pitches - and he was trailing 2-0. It was the first time in 43 years that the first two Red Sox batters homered to begin a road game. (Rick Miller and Reggie Smith went back-to-back on June 20, 1973, against the Brewers. Thanks to Jere for digging that up.)
Gausman walked Chris Young and Christian Vazquez in the second inning and Betts drilled an inside pitch just inside the left field pole for three more runs. Betts lined to second in the fourth. He hit his third homer - and the first of his career to right-center - in the seventh. He also made a tremendous diving catch in shallow right-center to end the bottom of the seventh. Betts led off the ninth by grounding to second base.
Betts's 40 RBI are the most by any leadoff hitter in MLB. ... Xander Bogaerts singled in the seventh, extending his hitting streak to 24 games. ... Eduardo Rodriguez (6-6-2-0-3, 89) pitched well in his first appearance of the season.
Boston now has a three-game lead over the Orioles. ... The Yankees lost to the Blue Jays 4-1 and are 7.5 GB.
Red Sox Through 51 Games
Season Record Runs AVG OPS HR 2B 2004 31-20 276 .271 .802 61 117 2007 36-15 276 .277 .808 55 109 2013 31-20 252 .262 .772 52 109 2016 31-20 302 .295 .846 61 133
Betts, RFRodriguez will be making his 2016 debut. He suffered a dislocated right kneecap in spring training.
Last season, Rodríguez became the first pitcher since the advent of ERA as an official statistic (1912) to have begun his major league career with three starts of at least six innings with one or zero earned runs allowed and at least seven strikeouts. He also finished the season strong, with a 2.08 ERA over his last seven starts. His season totals: 21 starts, 3.85 ERA.